Struggling level 9 and feeling the beginning of a burn out

Hello everyone!
Two month ago i took the new year resolution to finally learn japanese, something i’ve been wanting to do for years now. Now I know learning a language is a real challenge, especially with a job, on your own and using ressources that are not in your native language (i’m not a native english speaker and very few good ressources are in my native language). But if others managed to do it, so will I.
I’ve been doing wanikani for over two months now, advancing quite effectively through the first levels.
I figured after two month of piling up words and kanjis, and now that I was fairly confortable with both hiraganas and katakanas, it was time for me to start learning grammar. So i started a few weeks ago to study through both genki and Japanese the manga way.
But now i feel like i’ve hit a wall. My reviews’ accuracy dropped really hard lately, especially since the beginning of level 9.
Usually i’d struggle with the kanji a bit on the first reviews, and then pick up and nail them all the way to the next level, and repeat. But with level 9, after a week, i still feel very weak on the kanjis. And it’s making me very anxious cause some on the older kanji i’ve not performed really well on they reviews lately either, so if those kanji i was confident when i passed them guru the first time are not really well fixed in my memory, I don’t know how it will be for those i’m not confident on.
I feel like i’ve been using wanikani the best i could so far, always doing reviews as they come, 4 to 5 times a day, sometimes more.
Anyway, i was looking for people who might’ve had similar experiences and how they dealt with it.
Thanks for reading me :slight_smile:

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I hit a wall around level 7-9 as well. If you start to feel overwhelmed by reviews stop doing lessons for a while. Just focus on reviews until they are manageable. Then throttle your lessons to make sure you don’t get overwhelmed again.

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As pragmata said, if you’re getting overwhelmed by reviews, it’s probably a good idea to take a smaller chunk of lessons at a time rather than all of them at once. That will reduce the number of items in your apprentice pile and likely help you to focus on just a couple at a time.

Also, if you’re having a hard time finding motivation, I’d recommend reading some Japanese study material. It’s so exciting to be able to understand even one sentence! The Japanese Only (Beginner) section of these forums have been fun for me. If you have a lot of patience, you could try picking out some simple sentences from children’s books or simple “go-at-your-own-pace” video games. Ultimately, being able to read kanji and vocabulary is a goal of anybody who uses wanikani, so it feels awesome to be able to practice that skill even a little bit!

Good luck! You’ve got this!!

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Maybe the best is to stop the lessons for a while and do only the reviews ?If you feel anxious while doing japanese, it is not good (for your mental well being and for your performances).
Also, there are some days when I can’t focus at all during my morning reviews. If I force myself to do all my 20 lessons (I aim at doing 20 per day), my accuracy is super low for all reviews of thoses items. Instead, I think doing smaller batches helps with accuracy.

I know the struggle of combining full time job with japanese studies… It is really impressive that you started to study grammar on top of WK !!

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I’d recommend doing 4-12 lessons at a time (depending on how hard they seem and how many lessons you have pending), and then once you are done with the lessons, do your best to recall all the words and readings you just learned without looking at anything. I’ve been doing that lately, and it seems to help a lot.

Also, if you start missing a bunch of reviews, just stop, take a short break, and come back to them later. It’s important not to let negatively cloud your mind, because if you get in a bad mood, you’ll start missing more and more reviews even when you know them.

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Rather than doing x amount of lessons each day, another method is to only start a new level when your apprentice items are below a certain amount (100 for example)
my review piles have certainly diminished to a more manageable size since doing so (it can get really big beyond lvl 20)
The x lessons per day method is more of a soft limiter since it doesnt directly depend on the amount of leeches, but it does spread out and limit the influx of new items.
i guess which one you choose depends on whether you like a hard leech limiter or a soft leech limiter

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I think one of the most important things is to not lose sight of your end goal, which is likely to learn Kanji. Your accuracy is bound to drop as the workload continues to pile on, even more so if English is not your native language; but, if you truly believe in the SRS as a learning tool, you’ll find yourself picking up items eventually regardless of how long it takes. Your review accuracy is not a quiz grade and there’s absolutely no shame in having bad days. In fact, being able to recount items precisely on those bad days means that the system is working effectively.

As an alternative for throttling lessons, my approach is to not add any lessons while my Apprentice queue exceeds 100 items. This way, any items I am struggling with can be focused on, and this keeps me to around 100-175 reviews per day at most.

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Hey Jarkfander,

as some people said before, reducing the number of the words you want to learn per day is a good way to change down into a lower gear. I want to add a quantitative range however: You should not exceed 120 Apprentice-level objects. 100 is (for me) an ideal compromise between pace and workload.

But there are even more options to preempt a total burnout:

  • Lower the number of your Apprentice-level objects even further than 100

  • Take a break, turn on vacation mode for some days and do something else or nothing; this might sound counterproductive and you might will answer even less words correctly after the break for some days, but it will pay off in the long term for sure.

  • Optimise the way you learn on wanikani: You do not need to do reviews four to five times a day - two/three “main” reviews will suffice. Perhaps you will find it helpful to write kanji you learn on a sheet of paper (min. 5 times per Kanji) to reinforce the learning process and to profundly understand the kanji and its radicals. You stated having problems with remembering the kanji correctly so that should help alot.

  • Take a step back on learning all at the same time. With a job and so on it surely turns out to be too much of a work load you will have to carry. I found it also helpful to do something as a balancing, e. g. sports, so that your mind is not the only part that toils.

That is all what is in my head at the moment concerning your problem. :smile:
Have a nice day!

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I felt the same in the teens. I kept pushing myself and went full speed anyway, just to hit the wall so badly, got a proper burnout where I couldn’t touch WaniKani for a few months! Reset from level 20 to 1. If you feel there are too many reviews and a burnout coming on, then stop leveling. Just focus on the reviews. Continue once there are hardly any items left in apprentice. I can handle a big apprentice pile at times, but when it starts to feel bad it’s best to empty it, all the way of you can!

Leveling is so tempting, but reaching the end is so much more likely if you slow down every now and again.

I had to reset a second time, due to long time illness. This time I do about a month of only reviews every 10 levels or so. I probably won’t even start the level 34 items until April =)
I just celebrated my 3 year anniversary, slow down a little and you can make it on the first go and will easily get there much faster than me :wink:

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I feel for you, I have about 150 reviews and about 100 lessons piled up. Ive been going full speed up until about level 8 or so when I started to get a bit overwhelmed. Reading through some of the comments I think the most effective way to combat the workload is to just slow down and focus on your leeches and kanji that are giving you trouble and maybe delaying a level up for a few days to do so. In the long run going slower is going to be quicker because you wont have to spend as much time reviewing things you forgot. After reading some of these I think in going to implement the " no lessons until apprentice is below 100" rule. But hey consistency is key, stay motivated my friend!

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hello.
let your brain to digest the new stuff.
shift your focus from written stuff to verbal stuff, listen podcasts or watch some videos. there are plenty of sources over here and there.
i am a newbie as you are with a full time job. good luck.

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Maybe also start trying to read stuff so you can actually put some of your kanji learning to use? That helped me a lot to get over the burn out I was getting at around the same time. Being able to get practical use out of the learning helped keep me motivated because otherwise just solely doing SRS all the time can easily become overwhelming slog.

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Lots of helpful replies here, thank you everyone. I think i’ll slow down a bit on wanikani, and shift my focus more on grammar, trying to read some basic sentences and hopefully regain some motivation in the process! :triumph:

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I agree, it is best to try and diversify your studies. The best way to get burnt out is if you aren’t having fun. Maybe give pimsleur a shot for listening and speaking practice. I personally give it the stamp of approval.

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I had the same problem when I started Bunpro around month two as well. In my case, I just stopped learning grammar and stuck with WK. I’m sure many people can easily do both, but I just couldn’t spare the time to do both grammar and WK and both ended up suffering.

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Try cutting out or scaling down the grammar a bit until you’re back to your normal energy reserves. It doesn’t look like it, but WK is time intensive so it’s ok to just solely focus on it.

Personally through one burn out, I cut out the grammar part (bunpro) and it made a big difference to just focus on one thing. Now that I’m partially done, I can now tackle the grammar and put my focus on that.

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As everyone else said, if WK gets too much then slow down. My recommended minimum is reviews twice a day, with no lessons. After a few days your review accuracy will increase again. Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Avoiding burnout is one of the key aspects of this.

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I am probably one of the few people who will recommend this but keep WK only for the moment.

You know you will need years to learn Japanese anyway, as long as you are progressing with one aspect of the language you are doing well.

Also what will you learn with the grammar now? “Hi, my name is X” or “How much is Y” which is nothing special.

Doing everything at once will just burn you out and make you give up. It’s better to do WK every day until like level 30. It takes a lot of time if you want to level up consistently and you don’t need to learn to speak or anything because chances are you don’t plan to work in Japan in the near future.

When you are 30, you have enough Kanji to even tackle N2(around 1000 Kanji). At that point, you can decide to keep going or slow down because now you have enough Kanji to consume Japanese content. Learning grammar will be so much easier because you know how to read all the basic Kanji and you will focus on the grammar itself. You will also get better at picking up Kanji because your brain is used to them.

Learning Kanji is less and less rewarding at some point(diminishing returns). I mean how many times will you use “cedar 杉”(level 35) in your life? I have never seen the word once in my life. Worst case scenario I would just use “weird tree” lol. It just sucks that WK teaches some basic words quite late(e.g. key 鍵, level 46).

Well, this is how I would do things because I always think in terms of long term. 1 hour per day should be a decent pace that you can stick to. If you feel like doing more you can add 10 mins for something else like grammar/listening and slowly increase that.

If you get overwhelmed by reviews, just slow down the pace a bit but don’t use that as an excuse to stop completely.

Good luck!

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wow, if you hit level 9 in only 2 months you must be flying through your lessons! i agree with what seems to be the main theme here, that it would be helpful to slow down. you say you have been wanting to learn japanese for a long time, but if you turn it into a race it becomes more of a chore than a passion, and that’s not a very healthy relationship to have to your interests! that’s a lot of pressure, too, to be doing that many reviews and lessons at once. i could see that being extremely overwhelming. especially as you move up through levels, it seems to get a lot more complicated and harder to remember (i’m only at 11, but i remember things starting to get pretty tricky around level 8). doing fewer lessons at a time will help you retain what you’ve learned better, and then there’s less frustration or guilt about reviews. i mean, don’t know about you, but i feel kinda bad when i get less than 80% on my reviews, which is ALSO not a healthy relationship to have with this learning process. i definitely think slowing down would make it more enjoyable. keep it fun! and keep it up, you’re finally doing this thing you’ve been wanting to do for a long time!

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Hi there!
I was actually at level 9 before I reset. I don’t think you should reset in your case, though. I had been away for a few months and needed a fresh start.
Just don’t stress yourself out too much and keep pushing! You’ve got this!